Top 10 future stars for 2014 – actor edition

This week I have assembled a list of ten actors that I think have the potential to make it as A-list Hollywood stars in the future. Some of them have been around longer than others and some have had more exposure than others but I think they’re all a step away from mega-stardom as yet.

Ansel Engelort

Ansel Elgort
What makes him stand out?: The Fault in Our Stars would have probably completely bombed if it wasn’t for Engelort’s warmth and charm. He was also the only bearable thing about the Carrie reboot.
Recent standout roles: Gus in The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
Interesting upcoming roles: Tim Mooney in Men Women and Children (2014)
Current star rating: 50/100
“Most actors nowadays are models turned actors. That’s why a lot of young actors are terrible. You have to learn how to act. It is not something that you can just do.”

Dane DeHaan

Dane DeHaan
What makes him stand out?: He has a real intensity and isn’t afraid to take on daring, quirky roles.
Recent standout roles: Andrew Detmer in Chronicle (2012), Cricket Pate in Lawless (2012)
Interesting upcoming roles: James Dean in Life (2015)
Current star rating: 70/100
“When people recognize your work and want to reward you for what you’ve done, that’s a good feeling.”

Dylan OBrien

Dylan O’Brien
What makes him stand out?: His performance turned what would have been a mediocre adaption of a mediocre young adult nvel and made it ten times more enjoyable than it would have been without him.
Recent standout roles: Thomas in The Maze Runner (2014)
Upcoming interesting roles: Thomas in The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials (2015)
Current star rating: 20/100
“I just want to work with good filmmakers and do good projects that mean something to me and play interesting characters. That’s really it.”

ellar coltrane

Ellar Coltrane
What makes him standout?: His central performance in Boyhood was powerful enough to carry a three-hour long film that spanned twelve years.
Recent standout roles: Mason in Boyhood (2014)
Upcoming interesting roles: He’s not got anything reported coming out but I’m sure it won’t be long.
Current star rating: 10/100
“Most of what Mason goes through is very much the story. There’s not many of his experiences that are really familiar to me. But emotionally, and psychologically – I think that’s where my input and comparison to my own life came in. Even if I hadn’t exactly experienced the things that Mason was going through, there was always a place in my life that I could compare it to.

Jack OConnell

Jack O’Connell
What makes him standout?: He always gives an absolutely raw, balls to the wall, no holds barred performance
Recent standout roles: Eric Love in Starred Up (2014), James Cook in ’71 (2014)
Interesting upcoming roles: Toby in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote
Current star rating: 45/100
“I want to create a body of work that is entertaining and speaks to people for a long time. Longer than my life span.”

Jason Clarke

Jason Clarke
What makes him standout?: He’s an unassuming actor who draws you in with his quiet power
Recent standout roles: Howard Bondurant in Lawless (2012),Malcolm in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Interesting upcoming roles: John Connor in Terminator: Genisys (2015)
Current star rating: 75/100
“I can’t complain about the roles that have come my way.”

Kit Harington

Kit Harington
What makes him standout?: He probably isn’t going to be one of the great actors of our time but there’s no doubt that the combination of soulful eyes and washboard abs is a good one in Hollywood.
Recent standout roles: Jon Snow in Game of Thrones (2011 – ), Milo in Pompeii (2014)
Interesting upcoming roles: Billy Bradley in Seventh Son (2015)
Current star rating: 55/100
“You find with the really great actors, the ones you really admire and look up to, very often they’re very giving, generous, warm people.”

Max Schnetzer

Ben Schnetzer
What makes him standout?: He is a total chameleon and completely disappears into every role he plays
Recent standout roles: Max Vandenburg in The Book Thief (2013), Mark in Pride (2014)
Interesting upcoming roles: Unknown in Warcraft (2016)
Current star rating: 15/100
“When I decided I wanted to go to drama school, I realized that a lot of the actors whose careers I really admire and whose work I really admire were English and English trained. I felt there was a real vocational feel to work in the UK.”


Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac
What makes him standout?: His brooding intensity.
Recent standout roles: Llewyn Davis in Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Interesting upcoming roles: Unknown in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015)
Current star rating: 30/100
“I think that when you decide to dedicate yourself to creative endeavors and surround yourself with people who are creative, you very quickly learn how hard it is to survive doing those kinds of things, not to mention make a living at them.”

Tate Langdon

Evan Peters
What makes him standout?: He stole X-Men: Days of Future Past from James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender. That’s impressive.
Recent standout roles: Various in American Horror Story (2011 -), Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Interesting upcoming roles: Unknown in Lazarus (2015)
Current star rating: 40/100
“If you get an audition and you’re out of work, you just say, ‘I’ve gotta go on this.'”

As always with these, feel free to join in and post your picks. I’ll be doing actresses next week. (Not literally, Eric).


  1. Eeeeek, you know how much I LOVE DeHaan! Peters and Clarke impress me too. Great list you have here, definitely some actors to keep our eyes open for!

    PS: Nice warning there at the end 😉

    1. Abbi

      I did think as I was doing it that you’d be a fan. You always have to add a IPC disclaimer. Better safe than sorry.

  2. Great list with sound defenses. I vote for Ben Schnetzer to rise to the A-list. He’s got it all and the most impressive young (Is he? He looks 30) actor for me. A new Christian Bale?

    1. Abbi

      It turns out Ben Schnetzer is only 24! I definitely think he has a great future ahead of him.

  3. I was really impressed by Jack O’Connell in Starred Up. I haven’t seen 71 yet but i really should since i’m from Northern Ireland!

    I’m a big fan of Evan Peters due to American Horror Story. He has bags of Charisma

    1. Abbi

      I completely agree with you on Evan Peters. There’s just something about him.

      I would highly recommend ’71. One of the tensest thrillers I have seen this year.

  4. Great choice of actors! I think Aaron Taylor-Johnson might also belong on that list. Kick-Ass, Godzilla and now Avengers: Age of Ultron seem like a good ticket to the A-list.
    Maybe also Sam Claflin … I don’t know. But I really like your list!!

    1. Abbi

      I have to admit that I am not a fan of Taylor-Johnson at all. In my opinion he’s not a particularly good actor, he’s just very, very good looking.

      1. I haven’t watched that many of his recent movies. I just really liked him as a kid when he was in the Thief Lord and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. 🙂 But that’s okay, opinions have a tendency to differ

  5. I have no idea who most of these actors are. But I’ll trust you; some of the films are on my to-watch list already.

    1. Abbi

      I think quite a few of them have had a lot more exposure in the UK than the US. Check them out and let me know what you think! 🙂

  6. Couldn’t agree more about Jason Clarke. He just has this quiet power to him that really brings a lot of energy to roles he plays. I love Ansel Egort, especially in The Fault in Our Stars.

    Great post, great list of guys, Abbi!

    1. Abbi

      Thanks, Kristin! I loved Jason Clarke in Lawless particularly. Howard was such a complex character but with limited dialogue and he really got that across.

  7. Great list Abbi! I cannot disagree with any of these. I am interested in seeing Ellar in something new and Elgort, DeHanne and Peters are fab. I really want to put a list like this together. Nice work!

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you! I am really interested to see what Ellar is going to do next after such an intense role for such a long period. I’d love to see your list!

      1. Thanks Abbi, yes I can’t wait to see him. I am totally drawing up something for this and of course I will give you credit as my muse. haha

  8. Aside from Dane DeHaan, Evan Peters, and Jason Clarke (who is really good but has no drawing power for me yet),

    I don’t really care about any of these guys. To be fair, I don’t know anything about a few of them. You made a great list and you are totally right about them though. I just don’t see a Hardy or Fassbender or McAvoy in the current crop of fresh actors yet.

    1. Abbi

      I’d love to see your list. Star power is a really subjective thing.

  9. Jen

    If you like Dylan O’Brien now, watch Teen Wolf. Just. Wonderful/

    1. Abbi

      Is it worth watching? I am never sure with those teen shows but I really liked him in Maze Runner. I think it would have been a bit crap without him.

      1. Jen

        I am obsessed with Teen Wolf. It is completely ridiculous but I love it so stupidly much. You’ll know whether you’ll like it after the first ep…if you’re not on board straight away, it’s not worth it 🙂

        1. Abbi

          I will see if it’s on Netflix.

  10. Great post! Oscar Isaac is by far my favorite, but I also love Jason Clarke. Had no idea Dane DeHaan was playing James Dean. That’ll be interesting to watch!

    1. Abbi

      I know! I think he’ll do a great job but it’s such a challenging thing to play such an icon!

      1. Definitely. It also looks like he’s after James Franco’s roles. First Osborne in Spider-Man and now Jimmy Dean!

  11. […] the success of last week’s Future stars – actor edition, I’ve moved onto actresses I think have the potential to rocket right into the limelight. […]

  12. Oscar Isaac has been doing outstanding work, it’s about time he gets an Oscar nom! He was overlooked last year in Inside Llewyn Davis so hopefully he’ll get it w/ A Most Violent Year.

    I interviewed Ansel Elgort earlier this year for Divergent and this 19-year-old has such a confidence of someone 10-15 yrs older than him! He’s not too good looking but is attractive in an unconventional way and has a pleasant countenance about him too.

    1. Abbi

      It’s lovely to hear that Ansel Elgort is a nice person. I loved inside Llewyn Davis so it would be great to see Oscar Isaac get some Oscar love.

  13. Dane DeHaan, yes! I was taken by him already after Chronicle and then again in The Place Beyond Pines (, you should check it out if you haven’t yet.

    I think Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Kit Harrington are basically the same. Not good actors but nice to look at but I bet my money on the former, he is going to be in the next Avengers film, that helps A LOT!

    I like your choices, some of them I haven’t paid any attention before, maybe I should. I might add perhaps, well, Eddie Redmayne, for sure, he’ll probably will get an Oscar nomination for The Theory of Everything, that helps. And… Will Poulter, he’ll be in Iñárritu’s next film, The Revenant, with DiCaprio and Hardy. And there’s Domnhall Gleeson as well, whom I’d like to add to this list. I just think I’ll make my own. 🙂

    1. Abbi

      I would love to see your list. For some reason Aaron Taylor-Johnson bugs me but Kit Harington doesn’t. I completely see your point though.

  14. jennypugh

    I loved Jack O’Connell in Skins. He really made the show for me as Cook. I’m looking forward to watching him in more 🙂

    1. Abbi

      He was great. He saved that season for me!

      1. jennypugh

        I loved the twins and Pandora too. I thought that series 3 couldn’t better series 2 as I loved Sid and Cassie, but Cook just made it for me 🙂

  15. I see so many great things for Dylan O’Brien. Did you see The First Time? He was really good in that.
    Love the list! 🙂

    1. Abbi

      I didn’t;t but I am going to look it up now. 🙂

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